A brave new online world for SHP!
Steve Hails, Director for Health and Safety at Crossrail talks about what SHP means to him
On 1st December, we held a small party here at UBM to say goodbye to a 32 year legacy – SHP in print. Pictures from the event are here
January will see the last, souvenir edition arrive with IOSH members. For many safety professionals, the magazine has been a constant – where they usually turned to the back pages (jobs) first! SHP editors over the years have had to tread a difficult line – ensuring they were more or less on message with IOSH, keeping the sales team happy (UBM is after all a commercial company) whilst maintaining their editorial integrity. The great feedback we have had over years from readers, is that they successfully did that and on 1st December we were happy to congratulate the 3 editors present – Godric Joliffe, Tina Weadick and Nick Warburton.
One of my personal favourites….
Recently, I had a flick through some of the old publications and as well as seeing coverage of all the major topics – from Piper Alpha and Buncefield to Corporate Manslaughter and Lofstedt I was surprised to see that aside from the pictures looking rather different (and there were some very stiff models in black and white which did give us a giggle), the themes were very much the same – criminal and civil liabilities, how to deal with asbestos, a stress questionnaire, declines in inspections and enforcement….
There are people in the team who have been in the industry a very long time, myself included, and once we had got over the fact that we were no longer going to be publishing a print magazine, we dusted ourselves off and decided to see what we could achieve using the online service. Whilst it is commonly understood that “safety professionals like print” usage of the magazine is impossible to really measure – whereas with an online offer you can measure absolutely everything.
Luckily we have an incredibly creative and talented team here (well I would say that) with access to lots of great industry leaders through the longevity we have had in publishing the mag, putting 5 theatres on at Safety and Health Expo, assisting with the running of the IOSH conference and running Barbour. We also have access to a geeky digital team who spend hours looking at what works – from where people look on the page, to what types of content are working elsewhere in the business.
A little digression…. when I returned to Barbour (Index) from a sabbatical in Australia 7 years ago, my MD insisted that Barbour content was too long and boring. I fought with him, explaining that we had a professional audience who liked that style. His premise was that people are first and foremost human beings, who want engaging content, who interact with it in different ways – some preferring imagery, videos, shorter texts. I am sorry to say it turns out that this man was right (not a statement I like to utter too often).
So SHP Online has been experimenting with you lovely readers over the last few months. And we have had an absolute explosion in usage and what we in the biz call “engagement” (that means you comment and ask for our downloads).
What’s been working?
We’ve published e-books and resource downloads, quizzes and short videos, grown our highly successful Barbour Webinar series and offered it out to SHP readers too. We’ve raised our updates to daily (you can opt out of course). Our online editor, Roz, is putting up at least 4 new stories a day – mostly submitted by the community, but also prosecutions and case law.
Through Safety and Health Expo, our Barbour webinar series and the new Women in Health and Safety group we’ve started, we keep building on the community aspects of what we do – ensuring we always have access to new writers and speakers and that we are on top of the trends in the industry. Of course, we still publish lengthy articles – some subjects demand that, but we are also looking at things like tool box talk style videos which you can use yourselves or offer your workforce.
We have 159,000 people on our safety and health database. Goodness knows where you all are – only 15,000 of you come to Safety and Health Expo for a start! Only one year ago, we were getting on average 15,000 views a month, now we are getting 50,000….
In 2012, 2000 of you elected to join our community and receive the SHP Newsletter, in 2015 a huge number of new users, 24,000 in total have signed up.
First for Independent News
From January on, SHP has its own editorial advisory board. We would love to hear from anyone else who would also like to be on it but we are happy to announce Dominic Cooper, Liz Skelton, Shaun Lundy, Tim Marsh, Andrew Sharman and Kizzy Augustin are our first brave souls.
SHP Online will work with all the associations in the industry, as does Safety and Health Expo, but without being allied to one in particular, we can now be truly independent and expect to have a few controversial conversations starting and be a little braver.
We are redesigning the site, to ensure that given the amount we refresh the content, it doesn’t disappear so quickly!
Because we offer so many services in one community, the team here is passionately engaged in health and safety. We want to hear your views, your feedback – good and bad. Please feel free to email the editor [email protected] or myself [email protected]